Life After The Appalachian Trail

Life After The AT

Well, this post is way over due, but I finally have the courage to write again. It has been almost two months since we left the Appalachian Trail and it has been nothing short of exciting, confusing, busy and fun.

I can still remember the day we left the AT like it was yesterday. I didn’t cry as we drove off, I just sat in the back of shuttle driver Gary Serra’s SUV and tried to stay calm.

For the people who know me personally, that is not my normal reaction to something so emotionally taxing. I can only say it was the Lord’s peace with me. He let me know I was doing the right thing.

Lately, I have been questioning whether I did the right thing , but thanks to Matt, a kind viewer, he reminded me that my hope and identity is in Jesus, not in finishing the Appalachian Trail. He encouraged me to continue with Hike and Tell posts, so here I am.

After we were dropped off in Blacksburg, Virginia, we spent a few hours with Jake’s family reminiscing and planning for our next adventure. Yes. I said another adventure.

I still had some time before I needed to be back at work, so we decided to close out our year of adventure with a US road trip! We only spent three days at home getting ready and we were off like a heard of wild turtles (Jake’s dad’s favorite saying).

We met up with all of our trail friends … Purple Mist, Optimist, Sunflower, Daniel Son, Burrito and Cupcake as we headed north to begin our trip. It had been weeks since we had seen them and it was such a treat to spend time with them again.

After visiting family in Maine, we headed west! No, we did not climb Katahdin or hike any sections of the trail, but we were able to see Katahdin in the distance on top of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park.

We spent four weeks on the road and visited amazing US cities and landmarks. We explored Philadelphia, New York City, Martha’s Vineyard, Boston, Acadia National Park, Niagara Falls, Chicago, Mall of America, Mount Rushmore, Glacier National Park, Seattle, the Pacific Ocean, Redwood National Forest, San Francisco, Yosemite, Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon!

It was an experience that we will remember forever, just like our experience on the Appalachian Trail. We learned a lot on both of our adventures, and one thing is for sure, the Lord puts the right people and places in life at the right time.

After our month on the road, we decided it was time to find a new home and to grow our roots in a new city. We still live in South Carolina (we decided it was the best state of them all), but we live a lot closer to the mountains in Greenville!

I can’t wait to start hiking again and to continue sharing with you life’s best adventures.

Appalachian Trail Days 89-92

Thank you to everyone who has watched our videos, we are truly blessed by our viewers and blog readers! This has been the hardest week for us, and sadly this is our last video.

We have enjoyed making our videos each week and we hope you enjoy this one. Stay tuned for more adventures from Hike and Tell!

Appalachian Trail Days 74-81

We hit some big Appalachian Trail landmarks this week… Dragon’s Tooth, McAfee Knob and Tinker Cliffs!

Appalachian Trail Days 57-65

We enjoyed two zero days with my family last weekend in a lovely cabin near the Grayson Highlands.

 After leaving Grayson, a shoe snafu turned the week into a bit of a bumpy ride, but Sandals’ family came to the rescue!

Appalachian Trail Days 51-56

Bears, bears, bears… We have seen 7 so far! One moment with a momma bear was a little, shall we say, slightly nerve wracking! Thankfully, we are safe and sound.

We hope you enjoy video #10!

Appalachian Trail Days 47-50

Follow along as we experience and explore Trail Days in Damascus, VA and as we continue north along the Appalachian Trail.

Also, I haven’t mentioned in a post yet, but we are over $1,000 raised for the Levine Children’s Hospital! Thank you to everyone who has contributed so far!

Appalachian Trail Days 42-46

Life on the Appalachian Trail gets more fun and interesting every day. Some days it rains, some days it’s sunny. Each day is different and meaningful in its own way. 

In our newest video, we enjoy our last days in North Carolina and venture into Tennessee. Two states down, twelve to go! 

National Geographic Appalachian Trail Maps Review

I hope everyone is having a great Mother’s Day so far! Before leaving for the Appalachian Trail, I was contacted by TLC Book Tours to do a review on the new collection of Appalachian Trail maps created by National Geographic.

I have used the first map in the collection, Springer to Davenport Gap, along with my AWOL Guidebook during our first month on trail.

During the first two weeks of our hike, I regularly checked the National Geographic map at night to see what was ahead and to compare it with the AWOL guide. As time went on, it became my extra resource if needed to compare with my guidebook or in an emergency situation.

 I believe that they would serve day hikers and section hikers best, but also be excellent to carry on a thru-hike for emergency purposes. 

I say that day hikers and section hikers would benefit from the maps the most because each map is divided into sections of the Appalachian Trail, which gives a big picture of the area and provides other trail information.

If you were a day hiker trying to create a loop hike, the maps allow you see what’s in the area. You can also see where county lines are, topographical lines and shelter information. 

As a thru hiker, a guide book like the AWOL Guide or Guthooks is extremely important, but it’s also great to supplement with a map, which is why I love the National Geographic maps. It doesn’t have as many bells and whistles as a guide book, but it gives big picture coverage of the area you are looking at. 

Some ultralight hikers may disagree with carrying maps, but I like knowing I have another resource in my backpack in the case of  an emergency. A side trail or road crossing near the Appalachian Trail could be the means of getting out of bad situation quickly.

The only con I have with the maps is the lack of listed water sources. Every shelter listed at the front of each map lists whether it has water or not, but there are no other sources listed. You can tell where rivers and streams cross the trail, but it is easier to go by a guide book for water source information.

The takeaway:

1. Each map represents a section of the trail, which makes them lightweight and easy to carry.

2. They provide area information, including other trails, mountains and rivers in the vicinity of the Appalachian Trail.

3. These maps are handy for thru-hikers to use in addition to a guidebook for a larger view of the area and in the event technology fails.

These maps were provided for this review, but all opinions are my own.

Appalachian Trail Days 34-41

Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful moms out there!

Last weekend we spent a wonderful two days in Hot Springs, NC and headed back on trail this past Monday. Hot Springs has been our favorite town so far and highly recommend the section from Max Patch to Hot Springs for a fun section hike. We are close to finishing North Carolina!